Director: Chuck Russell
Starring: Vidyut Jammwal, Akshay Oberoi, Atul Kulkarni, Asha Bhat, Pooja Sawant, Makrand Deshpande
Written by: Chuck Russell, Ritesh Shah, Adam Prince
JUNGLEE is a film that is based on the issue of poaching of Wild Animals. The films starts off in an Elephant Sanctuary where a drone is scouting the area for elephants with tusks who can be hunted down for ivory. The drone belongs to our antagonist hunter Kotian (Atul Kulkarni). The sanctuary is being run by our protagonist Raj (Vidyut Jammwal)’s father, fondly referred to as Baba by the village. Helping him there is Raj’s childhood friend Shankara (Pooja Sawant). Raj had left the village, 10 years to the present day in the story, after the death of his mother, and hadn’t returned ever since as he blamed his father for not getting her mother the treatment required from the city. But on the 10th anniversary of his mother’s death he decides to return to the village just for the ceremony. Travelling along with him is a journalist Meera Rai (Asha Bhat) who is doing a story on Baba and his efforts to conserve the elephants. After reaching his village we see a few scenes of Raj reuniting with his old friends and family and that includes his childhood friend Bhola the Elephant, who sadly, is the one that the hunters are trying to poach. At the ceremony Raj is also reunited with his childhood friend Dev (Akshay Oberoi) who is now a forest ranger. His father is Gajja (Makrand Deshpande), also their Guru, who has taught Raj and Dev the ways to protect themselves and most importantly the Elephants and the nature. While Raj is busy catching up with old friends and with his mother’s death anniversary ceremony, a trouble in the form of the hunters is looming around them as they try and close in on Bhola. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
One of the things that work for JUNGLEE is the message that it tries to send out. One of the scenes before the interval really hits the right emotional notes. The story isn’t so new and we have seen something similar in the past. Action is graphic and done in a great way but it might just put off a part of the viewers, especially children. A few scenes in the film feel redundant, while some feel that they would work well in a children’s film. But all in all, a decent film that entertains and also gives out a good message.
Technically, the film is decent. Cinematography by Mark Irwin is good; some of the scenes are really well captured like the cityscapes and in the jungle. Editing by Jayesh Shikarkhane and Vasudevan Kothandath is okay but could have been a bit better. The VFX seemed okay, especially in the initial scenes of the film. The music is not chartbuster worthy but works in the film. The idea of the story was great but it feels the vision doesn’t quite transfer to the script and thus the screen so well. The action sequences in the film are good too.
Performance wise, the film is good. Vidyut Jammwal, as one would expect, was the heart and soul of the film. he delivers a fine performance. The debutants Asha Bhat and Pooja Sawant have given a good performance with the characters they were provided with. Atul Kulkarni as the antagonist was great and he did the best he could with his character but the fault arises in the way his character was written. Makrand Deshpande does well too and impresses with a bit of action as well. The rest of the cast offer abled support.
Director Chuck Russell fails to leave an impact one desired from a Hollywood filmmaker making his debut in Bollywood, although manages to give out a good message through the film.
At the box-office
The film has taken a decent start and should find patronage from children and eventually sail through.